For the first time in 10 years, the annual "Under The Big Sky Buddy Walk" in Great Falls will take place virtually. This year, participants will walk on their own - and instead of just happening on one day, this year it will be all month long throughout September.
The goal of the Buddy Walk is to raise awareness and promote acceptance of people with Down syndrome.
Event coordinator Joan Redeen shared why this year’s walk is broken up into four parts: “I wanted to be able to spread out the fun and the awareness. Normally we would gather on one Saturday and we would take a one-mile walk. So we’re asking folks this year to take a quarter-mile walk every single week in the month of September. They can walk any day of that week as long as by Saturday they’ve posted something on our Under the Big Sky Buddy Walk Facebook page and shared a photo or an image of something in some way that they have done their quarter-mile walk.”
Walkers from all over can log their mileage anywhere during any day, each week during the month of September. This way, more people can participate if they so choose.
Since participants will be doing so apart from others, they are encouraged to share photos of their weekly ¼ mile walk on Facebook, for a chance to win prizes and to create a sense of togetherness.
“Even though we will be walking apart, we will be working hard to create a spirit of community by sharing our weekly walks on our Facebook page. We encourage you to check our page each week for the activity, take your walk and share your photos so we can share in one another’s walks together,” Redeen said.
As a mother to a son with Down’s Syndrome, Redeen believes participation in this walk can benefit not just those with Down’s Syndrome but all people with special needs.
“Down’s Syndrome is one of the most common chromosomal disabilities and so what I’ve often said is if we can help support our community of individuals with down syndrome, then we are benefiting the community of individuals with special needs as a whole,” Redeen said.
As a way to ensure the future of the Under The Big Sky Buddy Walk, Redeem asks that participants purchase $15 event shirts. Shirts must be ordered before September 5th so they can be mailed out while the walk is happening. Click here for details on ordering a shirt.